Friday, December 14, 2012

Dec. 17 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Dec. 17 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

State Performance Report Shows Over 12 Point Drop In Environmental Compliance

Budget Secretary Charles B. Zogby Wednesday released the 2011-12 Report on State Performance.  The report reviews the activities of 30 Commonwealth agencies, providing details on their challenges and accomplishments as they work to improve the lives of Pennsylvania's citizens.

Overall the report examines the Commonwealth’s performance in the areas of education, economic development, health and human services, the environment, public safety, consumer protection and government efficiency.
By outlining agencies’ key objectives and presenting measurable results in dozens of different categories, the report evaluates state government's ongoing efforts to deliver quality services to its citizens.
“The Report on State Performance clearly outlines how effectively we are serving the residents of Pennsylvania and how efficiently these services are being delivered,” Secretary Zogby said.  “As the Commonwealth contends with increasing cost pressures on the budget, it is important that state agencies can measure success and demonstrate our fiscal responsibility.”
Environmental Agency Performance
The report shows the percentage of sites in full compliance with environmental regulations enforced by the Department of Environmental Protection dropped 12 percentage points since 2001, from 89.9 percent in 2001 to 77.71 percent in 2011-12 performance report and lower than in 2009-10 at 78.75 percent.
At the same time, the report said the percentage of inspections with violations increased by 0.6 percent-- 14.9 percent to 15.51 percent, and higher than in 2009-10 at 15.03 percent.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reported a 10,428 acre drop in the number of land acquired through fee simple acquisition or easements for conservation purposes, from 17,405 last year to 6,977 in 2011-12 and less than in 2009-10 at 11,936 acres.
DCNR did see a $2.3 million increase in Community Conservation Partnership Grants awarded in 2011-12-- $29.1 million to $31.4 million, which was more than in 2009-10 at $25.3 million.
With the FY 2012-13 General Fund budget investments in environmental protection and restoration programs have been cut over $1.7 billion over the last 10 years, starting with the record cuts and staff furloughs by Gov. Rendell in each year of his administration.
Gov. Rendell's share of these cuts/diversions is $1.4 billion.  Gov. Corbett's share is $314.7 million, so far.
In terms of General Fund appropriations, DEP's budget in FY 2002-03 was $728.2 million, in the FY 2012-13 budget it was $124.8 million, below 1994 funding levels.
DEP's authorized complement is now below 2,759, down from 2,770 last fiscal year and significantly reduced from the 3,211 in FY 2002-03.  DCNR's complement is now below 1,375, down from 1,389 last year and 1,391 in FY 2002-03.  
The FY 2009-10 budget cuts required DEP and DCNR to furlough or eliminate 333 full time positions and DCNR had to eliminate or reduce hours for 1,131 seasonal workers.  The FY 2012-13 budget included a reduction of at least 14 positions in DCNR and 11 positions in DEP, but no furloughs.

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